TVNZ staff to soon learn fate of proposed job cuts, axing of shows

  • 09/04/2024

Staff at Television New Zealand (TVNZ) will soon find out whether two of their shows will survive proposed cost-saving cuts.

The state-owned broadcaster recently proposed ending 68 jobs across its 700-strong workforce in response to falling revenue. In total, nine percent of the company's workforce would be axed if the proposed restructure goes ahead.

In March, TVNZ reported an operating loss of $4.6 million. It also recorded an impairment of $12.2 million, making its net loss $16.8 million over six months. That compared with a profit of $4.8 million the year before.

Under the new proposal, consumer rights programme Fair Go and current affairs show Sunday would be discontinued, as would One News' Midday and Tonight bulletins. The company's digital youth-aimed news brand Re: News was also proposed to have roles cut.

Newshub understands a meeting with the staff of Fair Go is happening on Tuesday morning and the meeting with Sunday staff is on Wednesday.

The union for media, E tū, rallied in opposition to the cuts, launching a campaign called 'Save Our Stories' to stop the proposed changes.

Journalists and supporters also protested the proposal on March 28, wearing the colour orange. An open letter with over 11,000 signatures was presented to TVNZ's chief executive and board urging them not to proceed with the cuts.

In a statement after the announcement, TVNZ chief executive Jodi O'Donnell said there were "no easy answers" as tough economic conditions continued to hit the media industry.

"TVNZ's executive team has focused on reducing operating costs over the last 12 months. Unfortunately, we're now at the point where we need to reduce the size of our team to bring our costs more in line with our revenue," she said.

"Changes like the ones we're proposing are incredibly hard, but we need to ensure we're in a stronger position to transform the business to meet the needs of our viewers in a digital world.

"There are no easy answers, and media organisations locally and globally are grappling with the same issues."

TVNZ announced the proposal just two days after Newshub's owners Warner Bros. Discovery said it was planning to shut down news operations and discontinue almost all local programming.

Newshub staff will learn the outcome of the five-week consultation period on Wednesday.